AmerenUE will once again join the Missouri State Water Patrol in promoting the importance of wearing life jackets while boating on the Lake of the Ozarks. The main focus of the project is on children, since Missouri law requires that children under the age of 7 wear a life jacket anytime they are aboard a boat. The project is also intended to help educate everyone about the importance of wearing life jackets.
UE has provided the Water Patrol with T-shirts bearing the message, “I got caught wearing my life jacket.” Water Patrol officers will hand out the T-shirts as a reward to children “caught” wearing their life jackets throughout the summer boating season.
“This program is a good way to recognize those boaters who are being safety conscious,” says Water Patrol Captain Matt Walz. “The majority of our stops on the lake are due to violations our officers have observed, so it’s always nice to note the positive things we see boaters doing.”
According to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, as many as 85 percent of boaters who drown are not wearing a life jacket, even though in many cases life jackets were aboard but were not being used. “Life jackets are required for children under 7, but are certainly recommended for children 7 and over.
Children on docks are not required to wear life jackets, but the same dangers certainly apply. The most tragic situations I’ve seen on this lake involved small children who drowned. It’s something I hope to never see again.” Walz adds.
As the owner and operator of Bagnell Dam, which created Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, UE conducts a range of programs to protect the lake’s environment and promote safety on the lake. With residential electric retail rates that are almost 38 percent below the national average, UE provides electricity and natural gas to 1.2 million customers in Missouri. UE’s parent, Ameren Corporation, through its affiliates, serves 2.4 million electric customers and nearly 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
# # #
CONTACT: Jeff Green, 573.365.9214, of AmerenUE or Captain Matt Walz, 573.751.3333, of the Missouri State Water Patrol